Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
The neurobiological mechanisms associated with affiliation, that Depue & Collins argue are a central component of extraversion are not specified in their model. In addition, only the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in extraversion is discussed, although recent evidence suggests that activity associated with additional cortical regions may be related to this trait. Finally, the assumption that neurobiological mechanisms underlie or play a causal, and therefore, more fundamental role than psychological constructs in the trait is challenged.
An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that (...) thinking and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
Moral duties are regularly attributed to groups. Does this make conceptual sense or is this merely political rhetoric? And what are the implications for these individuals within groups? Collins outlines a Tripartite Model of group duties that can target political demands at the right entities, in the right way and for the right reasons.
This fascinating study in the sociology of science explores the way scientists conduct, and draw conclusions from, their experiments. The book is organized around three case studies: replication of the TEA-laser, detecting gravitational rotation, and some experiments in the paranormal. "In his superb book, Collins shows why the quest for certainty is disappointed. He shows that standards of replication are, of course, social, and that there is consequently no outside standard, no Archimedean point beyond society from which we can (...) lever the intellects of our fellows. "- -Donald M. McCloskey, Journal of Economic Psychology "Collins is one of the genuine innovators of the sociology of scientific knowledge.... Changing Order is a rich and entertaining book. "- - Isis "The book gives a vivid sense of the contingent nature of research and is generally a good read. "- -Augustine Brannigan, Nature "This provocative book is a review of [Collins's] work, and an attempt to explain how scientists fit experimental results into pictures of the world.... A promising start for new explorations of our image of science, too often presented as infallibly authoritative. "- -Jon Turney, New Scientist. (shrink)
For nearly half a century, Quentin Skinner has been the world's foremost interpreter of Thomas Hobbes. When the contextualist mode of intellectual history now known as the “Cambridge School” was first asserting itself in the 1960s, the life and writings of John Locke were the primary topic for pioneers such as Peter Laslett and John Dunn. At that time, Hobbes was still the plaything of philosophers and political scientists, virtually all of whom wrote in an ahistorical, textual-analytic manner. Hobbes had (...) not been the subject of serious contextual research for decades, since the foundational writings of Ferdinand Tönnies. For Skinner, he was thus an ideal subject, providing a space for original research on a major figure, and an occasion for some polemically charged methodological manifestos. Both of these purposes animated his 1965 article “History and Ideology in the English Revolution,” and his 1966 article “The Ideological Context of Hobbes's Political Thought”. The latter of these remains to this day one of the most widely cited scholarly articles in the fifty-year run of Cambridge's Historical Journal. Among other results of these early efforts was the scholarly controversy during which Howard Warrender chided Skinner for having reduced the “classic texts in political philosophy” to mere “tracts for the times”. (shrink)
ISBN-13: 978-0-226-11360-9 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-226-11360-4 ... HM651.C64 2007 158.1—dc22 2007022671 The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information ...
In the popular misconception fostered by blockbuster action movies and best-selling thrillers--not to mention conventional explanations by social scientists--violence is easy under certain conditions, like poverty, racial or ideological hatreds, or family pathologies. Randall Collins challenges this view in Violence, arguing that violent confrontation goes against human physiological hardwiring. It is the exception, not the rule--regardless of the underlying conditions or motivations. -/- Collins gives a comprehensive explanation of violence and its dynamics, drawing upon video footage, cutting-edge forensics, (...) and ethnography to examine violent situations up close as they actually happen--and his conclusions will surprise you. Violence comes neither easily nor automatically. Antagonists are by nature tense and fearful, and their confrontational anxieties put up a powerful emotional barrier against violence. Collins guides readers into the very real and disturbing worlds of human discord--from domestic abuse and schoolyard bullying to muggings, violent sports, and armed conflicts. He reveals how the fog of war pervades all violent encounters, limiting people mostly to bluster and bluff, and making violence, when it does occur, largely incompetent, often injuring someone other than its intended target. Collins shows how violence can be triggered only when pathways around this emotional barrier are presented. He explains why violence typically comes in the form of atrocities against the weak, ritualized exhibitions before audiences, or clandestine acts of terrorism and murder--and why a small number of individuals are competent at violence. (shrink)
This study builds upon the top management literature to predict and test antecedents to firms’ engagement in corruption. Building on a survey of 341 executives in India, we find that if executives have social ties with government officials, their firms are more likely to engage in corruption. Further, these executives are likely to rationalize engaging in corruption as a necessity for being competitive. The results collectively illustrate the role that executives’ social ties and perceptions have in shaping illegal actions of (...) their respective firms. (shrink)
The most popular uniting theme in feminist peace literature grounds women's peace work in mothering. I argue if maternal arguments do not address the variety of relationships different races and classes of mothers have to institutional violence and/or the military, then the resulting peace politics can only draw incomplete conclusions about the relationships between maternal work/thinking and peace. To illustrate this I compare two models of mothering: Sara Ruddick's decription of "maternal practice" and Patricia Hill Collins's account of racial-ethnic (...) women's "motherwork.". (shrink)
Plausibly, only moral agents can bear action-demanding duties. This places constraints on which groups can bear action-demanding duties: only groups with sufficient structure—call them ‘collectives’—have the necessary agency. Moreover, if duties imply ability then moral agents (of both the individual and collectives varieties) can bear duties only over actions they are able to perform. It is thus doubtful that individual agents can bear duties to perform actions that only a collective could perform. This appears to leave us at a loss (...) when assigning duties in circumstances where only a collective could perform some morally desirable action and no collective exists. But, I argue, we are not at a loss. This article outlines a new way of assigning duties over collective acts when there is no collective. Specifically, we should assign collectivisation duties to individuals. These are individual duties to take steps towards forming a collective, which then incurs a duty over the action. I give criteria for when individuals have collectivisation duties and discuss the demands these duties place on their bearers. (shrink)
John Collins presents a new analysis of the problem of the unity of the proposition-how propositions can be both single things and complexes at the same time. He surveys previous investigations of the problem and offers his own novel and uniquely satisfying solution, which is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
Chapter 1 Introduction This chapter briefly explains what care ethics is, what care ethics is not, and how much work there still is to be done in establishing care ethics’ scope. The chapter elaborates on care ethics’ relationship to political philosophy, ethics, feminism, and the history of philosophy. The upshot of these discussions is the suggestion that we need a unified, precise statement of care ethics’ normative core. The chapter concludes by giving an overview of the chapters to come: Chapters (...) 2 to 5 will each develop concise statement of one of four key care ethical claims, while Chapters 6 to 8 will unify, specify, and justify those four claims under a new principle : the dependency principle. -/- Chapter 2 Scepticism about Principles Care ethicists tend to be sceptical that there is any useful role for general, abstract principles or rule in moral theory and practice. This chapter assesses this scepticism. It argues for the importance of maintaining a distinction between, on the one hand, scepticism about principles as a tool in deliberation, and, on the other hand, scepticism about principles as a ground of moral rightness. It surveys and assesses the statements made by care ethicists against principles. The conclusion is that care ethicists are correct to be somewhat sceptical about the use of principles in deliberation, but that this scepticism should not extend to principles as the source of moral rightness. -/- Chapter 3 The Value of Relationships Amongst care, a special place is often made for personal relationships. This chapter delimits and justifies this. First, it distinguishes three kinds of importance personal relationships are attributed by care ethicists –as moral paradigms, as goods to be preserved, and as sources of weighty duties. Next, it suggests such ‘relationship importance’ is not justified by the nature of personal relationships or the value of their relatives. It concludes that any personal relationship has importance in proportion to the value the relationship has to its participants. Crucially, this source of importance – a relationship’s value to participants – holds also for non-personal relationships. This allows us to understand how care ethics extends relationship importance to our relations with distant others. -/- Chapter 4 Caring Attitudes Care ethics calls upon agents to care about and for others. This chapter focus on the “about” aspect of caring: on caring attitudes. Caring attitudes are defined as pro-attitudes to the fulfilment of some entity’s interests. The moral value of these attitudes—particularly in emotions like love—is elaborated upon. However, attitudes do not seem under our voluntary control, so do not seem to be something we can be morally instructed to bear. This objection is responded to, with the explanation that we have long-term control over our attitudes and that moral theories can legitimately call upon agents to do things they cannot immediately control. Ultimately, then, care ethics’ injunction that agents hold caring attitudes is both defined and vindicated. -/- Chapter 5 Caring Actions This chapter starts by comparing and assessing the numerous definitions of care found in care ethics literature—distinguishing care, good care, bad care, and non- care. Caring actions are defined as having the intention to fulfil something’s perceived interests. The moral value of such actions is interrogated and found to be a combination off the intention’s value and the action’s consequences’ value. The chapter considers whether acknowledgment of care by the care recipient adds value to caring actions. It is suggested that such ‘ care receiving’ often, but not always, adds value to caring actions, and should not be part of the definition of care. Thus, care ethics’ imploration of agents to perform caring actions is defined. -/- Chapter 6 The Dependency Principle This chapter develops the dependency principle. This principle asserts that a moral agent, A, has a responsibility when: moral person B has an important interest that is unfulfilled; A is sufficiently capable of fulfilling that interest; and A’s most efficacious measure for fulfilling the interest will be not too costly. A incurs a weighty responsibility if ¬ to are true and A’s most efficacious measure for fulfilling the interest will be the least costly of anyone’s most efficacious measure for fulfilling B’s interest. Each of components to is elaborated on in turn. We arrive at a precise, comprehensive statement of the principle that will be used to unify, specify, and justify care ethics. -/- Chapter 7 Collective Dependency Duties It is impossible to do justice to care ethics without discussing the duties of groups—especially groups such as families and nation-states. This chapter defends the claim that the responsibilities produces by the dependency principle are, in many cases, responsibilities of groups. It develops permissive conditions that a group must meet in order to be a prospective responsibility-bearer, and explains how it is that groups’ responsibilities distribute to their individual members. This model of group responsibility is applied to states. This allows us to make sense of how the dependency principle can unify a care ethics that is greatly concerned with social and political outcomes. -/- Chapter 8 Unifying, Specifying, and Justifying Care Ethics Can the abstract, formalised ‘dependency principle ’—developed in Chapter 6 – serve as a compelling justification of the heterogeneous theory of care ethics? This chapter argues that it can. Each of the four claims of care ethics—developed in Chapters 2 to 5—is assessed in turn. Three questions are asked with regard to each. First, does the dependency principle generate some responsibilities of the relevant kind? Second, does the dependency principle generate enough responsibilities of the relevant kind? And third, does the dependency principle give the right explanation of these responsibilities? The answer each time, it is argued, is “yes”. Along the way, this answer produces some new results regarding both care ethics and the dependency principle. (shrink)
The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes offers a new interpretation of Thomas Hobbes's response to the English Revolution. By focusing on his religious thought, it debunks the standard view of him as a royalist, and recovers his sympathies with the religious projects of the 1640s and 1650s. This reinterpretation culminates with an exploration of Hobbes's surprising sympathies with Oliver Cromwell and his supporters. By placing Thomas Hobbes within fresh contexts, Professor Collins offers a new angle of vision on the religious (...) significance of the English Revolution itself. (shrink)
Delusions play a fundamental role in the history of psychology, philosophy and culture, dividing not only the mad from the sane but reason from unreason. Yet the very nature and extent of delusions are poorly understood. What are delusions? How do they differ from everyday errors or mistaken beliefs? Are they scientific categories? In this superb, panoramic investigation of delusion Jennifer Radden explores these questions and more, unravelling a fascinating story that ranges from Descartes’s demon to famous first-hand accounts (...) of delusion, such as Daniel Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Radden places delusion in both a clinical and cultural context and explores a fascinating range of themes: delusions as both individually and collectively held, including the phenomenon of folies á deux ; spiritual and religious delusions, in particular what distinguishes normal religious belief from delusions with religious themes; how we assess those suffering from delusion from a moral standpoint; and how we are to interpret violent actions when they are the result of delusional thinking. As well as more common delusions, such as those of grandeur, she also discusses some of the most interesting and perplexing forms of clinical delusion, such as Cotard and Capgras. (shrink)
Although C. A. Campbell's account of the problem of suffering is articulated in the context of making out a case for rational Theism, it does not stand or fall with the case for rational Theism. It has independent merit as a sustained effort of reason to grapple with the problem of whether the goodness and omnipotence of God are consistent with the prima facie badness of so much of the suffering that exists in God's world. Campbell's views on suffering are (...) to be found in On Selfhood and Godhood , pp. 287–306, and in an earlier article ‘Reason and the Problem of Suffering’ , published in Philosophy , x 1935, pp. 154–67. In the first section of what follows, I give a summary of Campbell's line of argument. In the second I offer some critical comments on certain aspects of his treatment. 1. (shrink)
Among the many philosophers who hold that causal facts1 are to be explained in terms of—or more ambitiously, shown to reduce to—facts about what happens, together with facts about the fundamental laws that govern what happens, the clear favorite is an approach that sees counterfactual dependence as the key to such explanation or reduction. The paradigm examples of causation, so advocates of this approach tell us, are examples in which events c and e— the cause and its effect— both occur, (...) but: had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. From this starting point ideas proliferate in a vast profusion. But the remarkable disparity among these ideas should not obscure their common foundation. Neither should the diversity of opinion about the prospects for a philosophical analysis of causation obscure their importance. For even those philosophers who see these prospects as dim—perhaps because they suffer post-Quinean queasiness at the thought of any analysis of any concept of interest—can often be heard to say such things as that causal relations among events are somehow “a matter of” the patterns of counterfactual dependence to be found in them. (shrink)
Collins (The Blackwell companion to natural theology, 2009) presents an argument he calls the ‘core fine-tuning argument’. In this paper, I show that Collins’ argument is flawed in at least two ways. First, the structure, depending on likelihoods, fails to establish anything about the posterior probability of God’s existence given fine-tuning. As an argument for God’s existence, this is a serious failing. Second, his analysis of what is appropriately restricted background knowledge, combined with the credences of a specially (...) chosen ‘alien’, do not allow him to establish the premise \( \Pr (LPU \mid NSU~ \& ~k') \ll 1\). (shrink)
A plausible thought about vagueness is that it involves semantic incompleteness. To say that a predicate is vague is to say (at the very least) that its extension is incompletely specified. Where there is incomplete specification of extension there is indeterminacy, an indeterminacy between various ways in which the specification of the predicate might be completed or sharpened. In this paper we show that this idea is bound to founder by presenting an argument to the effect that there are vague (...) predicates which cannot be sharpened in such a way as to meet certain basic constraints (of penumbral connection and public accessibility) that must be imposed on the very notion of a sharpening. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe Assistance Principle is common currency to a wide range of moral theories. Roughly, this principle states: if you can fulfil important interests, at not too high a cost, then you have a moral duty to do so. I argue that, in determining whether the ‘not too high a cost’ clause of this principle is met, we must consider three distinct costs: ‘agent-relative costs’, ‘recipient-relative costs’ and ‘ideal-relative costs’.
Jennifer Church presents a new account of perception, which shows how imagining alternative perspectives and possibilities plays a key role in creating and validating experiences of self-evident objectivity. She explores the nature of moral perception and aesthetic perception, and argues that perception can be both literal and substantive.
There is no conservative thought in America, only “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas,” wrote Lionel Trilling in 1950, thus providing a generation of historians with a convenient set piece to demonstrate the inadequacies of mid-century liberalism and its blindness to the nascent conservative intellectual movement gathering strength and purpose just as Trilling wrote. Two excellent new books about American intellectual history cast this quote in yet another light. Patrick Allitt's The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities throughout American History (...) carefully documents a centuries-long tradition of conservative thought in America, from the founding era through the end of the twentieth century. In The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers, and the Lessons of Anti-Communism, Michael Kimmage asserts that Trilling himself be considered a source of conservative ideas in postwar America. Taken together, the books by Allitt and Kimmage indicate that a new cycle of writing about conservative thought has reached full flower. For far too long, the field of conservative intellectual history has been dominated by the figure of George Nash, author of the classic 1976 The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945. These books provide an updated and more critically sophisticated way to examine the terrain Nash strode alone for so long. More significantly, they indicate that intellectual historians are ready to consider conservatism in dialogue with liberalism, bringing new balance to the study of American ideas. Furthermore, both books, Kimmage's in particular, suggest that some of what we are calling conservative and liberal might be flying under the wrong flag. The key to sorting out the confusion will be drawing a more careful distinction between conservatism as a “movement” and as a body of ideas, and looking at both conservatisms as part of a typically American response to historical change, rather than as an exotic and abberant specimen. (shrink)
During this period, when disciples were growing in number, a grievance arose on the part of those who spoke Greek, against those who spoke the language of the Jews; they complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. When Americans think of ethnic conflict, conflict between blacks and whites comes to mind most immediately. Yet ethnic conflict is pervasive around the world. Azerbijanis and Turks in the Soviet Union; Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland; Arabs and Jews (...) in the Middle East; Maoris and English settlers in New Zealand; Muslims and Hindus in India and Pakistan; French and English speakers in Quebec; Africans, Afrikaaners, and mixed-race people in South Africa, in addition to the tribal warfare among the Africans themselves: these are just a few of the more obvious conflicts currently in the news. We observe an even more dizzying array of ethnic conflicts if we look back just a few years. Japanese and Koreans; Mongols and Chinese; Serbs and Croats; Christians and Buddhists in Viet Nam: these ancient antagonisms are not immediately in the news, but they could erupt at any time. And the history of the early Christian Church recounted in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that suspicion among ethnic groups is not a modern phenomenon; rather, it is ancient. The present paper seeks to address the problem of ethnic conflict in modern western democracies. How can our tools and traditions of participatory governments, relatively free markets, and the common law contribute to some resolution of the ancient problems that we find within our midst? In particular, I want to focus here on the question of ethnic integration. (shrink)
Much of the best contemporary work in the philosophy of language and content makes appeal to the theories developed in generative syntax. In particular, there is a presumption that—at some level and in some way—the structures provided by syntactic theory mesh with or support our conception of content/linguistic meaning as grounded in our first-person understanding of our communicative speech acts. This paper will suggest that there is no such tight fit. Its claim will be that, if recent generative theories are (...) on the right lines, syntactic structure provides both too much and too little to serve as the structural partner for content, at least as that notion is generally understood in philosophy. The paper will substantiate these claims by an assessment of the recent work of King, Stanley, and others. (shrink)
Harry Collins interprets Hubert Dreyfus’s philosophy of embodiment as a criticism of all possible forms of artificial intelligence. I argue that this characterization is inaccurate and predicated upon a misunderstanding of the relevance of phenomenology for empirical scientific research.
Philosophers of language have long recognized that in opaque contexts, such as those involving propositional attitude reports, substitution of co-referring names may not preserve truth value. For example, the name ‘Clark Kent’ cannot be substituted for ‘Superman’ in a context like:1. Lois believes that Superman can flywithout a change in truth value. In an earlier paper, Jennifer Saul demonstrated that substitution failure could also occur in ‘simple sentences’ where none of the ordinary opacity-producing conditions existed, such as:2. Superman leaps (...) more tall buildings than Clark Kent does.Accounts focusing on opacity were unable to explain our ‘anti-substitution intuitions’ in such cases.In Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions, Saul extends her earlier work. She provides a comprehensive presentation and criticism of recent accounts of simple sentence substitution failure, and proposes a new approach drawing on psychological evidence about cognitive processing. Saul's purpose is not merely to solve the substitution puzzle cases, but to make …. (shrink)